Sunday, October 11, 2015

Auggie Tells About his Early Days, Part 1

I don't like to think too much about my early days before I met my Mom and Dad. But Mom has been urging me to tell me about them, so here is my story.

I was born in Philadelphia in the back room off the kitchen of a small apartment, with 2 other littler mates (one boy and one girl.) It was pretty cold in that little room; the door to the outside opened right up into our space and people kept their boots next to our area, which was an old playpen. I remember snuggling up with my mother and pushing my siblings aside so I could nurse. Later as they got bigger they would push back! We had a lot of fun times wrestling, but I don't remember too much more of that time. I was pretty young, of course.

When I was 6 weeks old the woman who lived in the other side of the house got a notice saying that she was breaking some kind of law by having so many dogs in one apartment. So she put the three of us in a box and took us outside to the local grocery store.

How can I describe that first time outside? I remember it was cold, and the sun was so strong that I had to keep my eyes almost closed. The cardboard box kept most of the wind off us, and we huddled together.  We couldn't see too much but those sounds were scary--there was honking of horns and loud voices.  I heard the words "free puppies!" over and over, and people stopped to look at us. My brother and sister were both taken away, and I cried out for them to come back. But they didn't return. It seemed like I was in that box forever, all by myself.

Finally a little girl came by and stopped to look at me. She picked me up and I tried to show her what a good puppy I was by licking her face, which made her laugh. She talked with the woman, then stuck me inside her jacket. It felt so nice being out of the wind! "You're my baby, now!" she told me.

The girl took me to my new home. She carried me up a lot of stairs. It was smelly, as if people had been using the hallway as a bathroom. 

Inside the apartment I was surprised to see another dog. The girl called him Booger, and he was big and brown.  I loved him right away. The girl's mother made a face when she saw me. "Mia, what's that?" she asked the girl. "It's my puppy! A lady gave him to me--I'm going to call him Baby, because he's my little babydoll."  "You'd better keep him away from Rocco--he ain't gonna like him," she warned. "And you're taking care of it--don't ask me to do that. I don't have time for that sh*t."

"I will, Momma," replied Mia.

Living with Mia was fun most of the time.  She put newspapers down in the corner for me to use as a potty, and I used them most of the time. Sometimes she hit me when I made a mistake, so I learned to dodge that rolled up newspaper. At night I slept in her bed and that was so nice. Mia sometimes forgot to change the papers for days, and it would start to really smell, until her momma got after her to clean it all up. 

As the weather got nicer she sometimes took me down the street to a vacant lot and let me play. Sometimes there would even be another dog there and that was so fun!  I learned not to tug too hard on the leash when I was walking, because Mia didn't like me to pull.  But most of the time she let me do what I wanted. And there was always Booger to play with--we were best buddies.

It felt like I was always hungry, though. If I was fast I could eat some of Booger's food before he finished it. Other times I had to wait until Mia and her mother left the apartment, then I could jump up on a chair and then the table to drink milk out of the cereal bowls they had left (for me, I assumed!) If I was lucky there was a crust of toast or a piece of a doughnut, too. I mostly got scraps after dinner.  Mmmm...Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonalds, Burger King...I ate some good food! There wasn't always enough, though, and sometimes I went to sleep dreaming about having all the french fries I could eat.

The only really bad times were when Rocco came over. He and Mia's momma would sit around and drink beer for hours, and sometimes smoke some stuff that made me want to cough. Those were the times that I learned to hide. Rocco was a big guy and always wore a black baseball cap. He hated me, calling me a "barking rat", and giving me a kick every time I got too close. "Get that f*cking rat away from me, Mia!" he would yell. "God, I hate little dogs. I gotta friend who could use him, though." Mia would pick me up and put me in her room then. "Stay away from Rocco, Baby, he'll give you to his friend who has those fighting dogs. They'll kill you." she would whisper to me. It made me shake just to think about it.

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